We all suffer from back pain — mild to severe — which is almost always cured by a little TLC and lot of rest. However, there are times when neither tender loving care and rest, nor painkillers will subside the constant ache. This is when a back surgery might be in order.

In most of these hurting times when you might be contemplating spine surgery, there is acute lower back pain which is can cause massive disruption in your life. While there are times when non-surgical care will take care of the issue within two to 12 weeks, you still might want to see a spine specialist.

With recurring or constant low back pain, many of us wonder if they require a back surgery to get rid of the pain. When the pain is at its worst, people might even toy with the idea of visiting the spine surgeon.

That’s when you need to calm yourself. The first requirement for any spine surgery will be a thorough check-up. For most of the instances of curing low back pain, a general physician might be able to prescribe medication — non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, non-narcotic painkillers — or a course of physical therapy.

However, if the pain persists despite the medication and physiotherapy, it’s time to fix that appointment with the ‘spine doctor’. It is time to see a spine surgeon if you have any of the following conditions:

  • If your physician has diagnosed you with herniated disc that is causing nerve pain to you. Most back surgeries are done as herniated discs treatments to relieve the nerve pain in your back.
  • If your disc problem is causing you pain in your leg and is preventing you from doing everyday tasks. In these cases, a back surgery could be an option.
  • If you have pain, numbness, or tingling through your buttock and down the back of your leg or in the front of your thigh, it is time to entertain the idea of a surgery.

One thing everyone should know is that spine surgery is almost always an elective procedure. There are only few instances where the spine surgery is absolutely necessary. The times when you would essentially have to undergo a spine surgery is:

  • A spinal fracture caused by an injury.
  • An infection in your spine.
  • A problem that causes your spine to be unstable.
  • A tumor in your spine.
  • Spinal stenosis – a problem where the open spaces within your spine narrow down putting pressure on your spinal cord and the nerves that travel through the spine.
  • Loss of feeling or weakness in your back or legs that gets worse over time.

Keep in mind that only you can know how bad your pain is, so the decision to undergo a surgical procedure is absolutely your decision. The spine surgeon is only your educator and guidance to make that decision — spine surgeons provide you with information about the full range of options that are available to you and the potential benefits and risks of a surgery.

Therefore, it’s important that you select a spine surgeon who is helpful in providing you the information you need to decide whether or not to proceed with surgery.